Instant analysis: Trading the monster GDP beat

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. economic growth last quarter was actually a whopping 5 percent, the fastest pace in 11 years, according to the Commerce Department's revised report on Tuesday. Here are the stocks that history shows do well after better-than-expected GDP reports.

For a fast one-day trade on that strong GDP number, historical analysis using Kensho, a quantitative analytics tool, shows that transportation and packaging firms do well.

Truck manufacturer Paccar traded positive 70 percent of the time after a GDP beat, with a median return of 1.1 percent, according to Kensho. Caterpillar traded higher 72 percent of the time with a median return of 1.1 percent. Railroad firms C.H. Robinson Worldwide and Kansas City Southern had median returns of about 1 percent and traded in the green more than 66 percent of the time following better-than-expected GDP readings.

For a trader with a slightly longer-term focus, CNBC looked at what happens to stocks 30 trading days following a better-than-expected GDP report.

Illinois Tool Works, which produces engineered fasteners and components, traded higher 77 percent of the time with a median return of 3.5 percent. Snap-On, a maker of high-end tools, traded in the green 66 percent of the time, with a median return of 1.7 percent. Industrial gases and welding products provider Airgas traded higher 66 percent of the time with a median return of 2.9 percent.

Strong performers on both the day and month trade were Caterpillar, industrial gas supplier Praxair and packaging firm MeadWestvaco.

The initial GDP figure for the third quarter was 3.5 percent, later revised up to 3.9 percent before Tuesday's final reading of 5 percent. Real GDP growth for the second quarter was 4.6 percent.

The average of PNC, Deutsche Bank and Nationwide Financial expectations for third-quarter GDP growth was 4.5 percent.

The Kensho studies looked at nine or more times when quarterly GDP beat consensus by more than 0.1 percent since Jan. 1, 2004.

Disclosure: CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Kensho.

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